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Right in time for Halloween, we have the children's book Amazing, Misunderstood Bats by Marta Magellan with photographs by Merlin Tuttle.

Author Marta Magellan starts by explaining all the ways that bats are helpful, including that bats:

  • Pollinate plants
  • Disperse seeds
  • Eat tons of insect pests
  • Make a source of fertilizer (guano)

Then she explodes some of the common bat myths, such as bats are not blind at all. Finally, she explains why bats are fun.

We love back matter, and this book has many extra facts about bats, a glossary, selected references, and even an index.

The best part is the amazing photographs used to illustrate the book, many by famous bat scientist Merlin Tuttle.

Activity:  View a Nightly Bat Emergence

Bats rest during the day and hunt for food at night. During the warmer months of the year, there are areas where you can watch bats fly out in vast numbers during their evening emergence. Note:  check in advance for any viewing restrictions due to Covid.

A few examples include:

Recently here in Phoenix bats were caught emerging on weather radar.

Bring along a notebook to sketch the bats and jot down your observations. Think about how scientists estimate the numbers of bats emerging, and look for common bat behaviors. What do you smell? What do you hear? Can you feel anything, like the air moving due to the bats' wings?

Check out what to expect by watching the bats at Old Tunnel State Park in this video.

Related:

Five bat science activities (previous post)

Fly on over and see our growing list of children's books about bats at Science Books for Kids.

 

Ages: 6-10
Publisher : Eifrig Publishing (January 9, 2020)
ISBN-10 : 1632332116
ISBN-13 : 978-1632332110

Disclosure: This book was provided electronically by the publisher. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.

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With Halloween just around the corner, our thoughts turn to the creatures of the night. To learn more, let's take a look at two new children's books about bats.

Our first title is the picture book The Secret Life of the Little Brown Bat
by Laurence Pringle and illustrated by Kate Garchinsky, which came out in September.

 

Follow Otis the bat pup as he grows into an adult bat. Explore how he feeds, learns about dangers, finds a place to hibernate, and even how he lands upside down.

In the back matter, Pringle explains that the little bat's name comes from the generic name for the species:   Myotis lucifugus. Although the text appears to be deceptively simple, it is full of detailed scientific information dressed up in an easy-to-follow story.

Garchinsky's pastel illustrations are mesmerizing. She says in the dedication that she was inspired by her new nephew's smile. The joyous faces of the bats reflect that.

The Secret Life of the Little Brown Bat is a perfect introduction to bats for young readers.

Age Range: 6 - 9 years
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press (September 11, 2018)
ISBN-10: 9781629796017
ISBN-13: 978-1629796017

Public domain image of little brown bat by Moriarty Marvin, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Yes, little brown bats are cute.

Next we have a title for middle grade readers, Bat Citizens:  Defending the Ninjas of the Night by Rob Laidlaw.

The "bat citizens" from the title are young people from around the world who study bats and let others know how they can help conserve them. Meet Truth Miller from New York, Dara McAnulty from Northern Ireland, and Eleanor and Samson Davis from Australia, among others.

In between the descriptions of the kids and their projects are interesting facts about bats. The center features a fold-out illustration of the anatomy of a hoary bat. The back matter includes lists of 14 ways you can help bats and organizations that help bats.

Bat Citizens introduces young ambassadors for bats in a way that is likely to inspire others to get involved in science and conservation efforts. It is a great choice for budding scientists and conservationists alike.

Age Range: 8 - 12 years
Publisher: Pajama Press (May 11, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1772780391
ISBN-13: 978-1772780390

Activity Suggestions:

First, see our previous post with five bat science activity suggestions.

Bats and Plants

We've all heard about how important bats are because they eat a lot of insects, but bats also help out plants.

Pollination

Here in the Sonoran Desert, lesser long-nosed bats are nectarivores, which means they feed on the sweet fluids produced by saguaro cactus flowers. As the bats fly from plant to plant they pick up pollen and transfer it to the next flower. This pollinates the saguaro.

Over 300 species of plants, and possibly more than 500, are pollinated by bats. For example, fruit bats are the main pollinators of African baobab tree. To entice bats to visit, the flowers open at night when bats are active. They are often white and many emit strong odors that help the bats locate them.

Seed dispersal

Other bats are frugivores, which means they eat fruit. Using their large eyes and noses, the bats find and eat bananas, mangoes, guavas, figs etc. When digestion is completed, they drop the seeds with their excrement, spreading the seeds around to grow in new places.

Do your own research

Investigate a few plants that are pollinated by bats. Find out what species of bats pollinate them, where the plants grow, and what time of year they flower. Try to discover what disperses the seeds of the plant. Are there any plants that bats both pollinate and disperse the seeds?

Gather images of the plants and bats, and use them to create a poster or slide show. Be a "bat citizen" and communicate to others what you have found out about the benefits of bats .

Want to learn more? Check out our growing list of children's book about bats at Science Books for Kids.

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Last Friday I had the honor of attending a workshop by children's author Conrad Storad. Interesting fact:  In a short time he will surpass his goal of reading his books to over 1,000,000 children. Yes, that's 1 million children. Amazing!

In his newest picture book, The Bat Book illustrated by Nate Jensen and Tristan Jensen, Conrad Storad uses a story within a story format to engage young readers. He also throws lots of science into the mix.

In the book Little Boy Bat, the main character who lives under the famous Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas, decides to write a book to help humans learn bats are not frightening. The result is both enlightening and fun.

Children will probably be interested to know that Tristan Jensen was 8 years old when he did some of the illustrations for the book. His contributions are on pages 13-22, with some more detailed insets created by his dad.

The back matter is stuffed. There are two pages of "Facts to drive you batty," information on "Researching Bats," "How to Help Bats," all about Little Boy Bat (what kind of bat he is, etc.), notes from the author and illustrator about how they created the book, and "How to Draw a Bat" activity.

The Bat Book is full of passion about bats and that enthusiasm is sure to spill over to the reader. Don't be "scared" to pick a copy up today.

Related:

Previous post with loads of bat science activities

flying-dog-bat-fly(Photo via VisualHunt.com)

 

Ages: 5-10
Publisher: Sunbelt Publications (March 25, 2015)
ISBN-10: 189179566X
ISBN-13: 978-1891795664

Disclosure:  This book is my personal copy.  Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.